Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

An Israeli and an Iranian on the Way Forward

| December 23, 2013

This winter marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The 1979 revolution, toppling Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the last king of Iran, established the Islamic Republic. Since, Iran and Israel, two former collaborators, have had a complex and mostly conflictual relationship. Indeed, much of the political and security narratives of Tehran and Jerusalem are shaped around each other. The rhetoric has covered the whole pallet of colors, from the black "wolf" to the white "sheep," with blue "jeans," "yellow cake," and "redlines" in between. Each side has legitimate fears and concerns, which cast a shadow over all the commonalities and interests the two countries and nations share. For their part, Israelis feel threatened by the Islamic Republic's anti-Israeli discourse, terrorist activities against Jewish communities around the world and support for anti-Israeli terrorist groups, as well as its controversial nuclear program. On the other side of the equation, the Israeli government beating the drum and encouraging more sanctions, along with allegations regarding its role in the assassination of Iran's nuclear scientists and its involvement in Stuxnet, have led Iranians to increasingly fear and distrust Israel. Despite these understandable concerns on either side, and especially with the recent deal reached between the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) and Tehran regarding Iran's nuclear in Geneva, it is high time for a paradigm shift in the relations between these two Middle Eastern countries....

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Aviv Melamud is an Israeli research associate at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), a Heinrich Böll Foundation Fellow, and a PhD student at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.

Ariane Tabatabai is an Iranian Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, a PhD candidate in the Department of War Studies, King's College London, and a non-resident Research Associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

The authors are members of the Middle East Next Generation of Arms Control Specialists Network, created by Dr. Chen Kane at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Melamud, Aviv and Ariane Tabatabai.“An Israeli and an Iranian on the Way Forward.” The National Interest, December 23, 2013.

The Authors